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On 19 November, Kevan called in at the North Durham Parkinsons UK Coffee Morning at the Methodist Church in Chester-le-Street.
On 16 November, Kevan attended an event organised by Guide Dogs to raise awareness of their Access All Areas Campaign. You can find out more at https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/access-all-areas#.WFkP9...
Below, Kevan is pictured with Sean Dilley.
On Friday 11 November, Kevan attended the Remembrance Service at South Moor, which included the launch of the new Heritage Trail.
From Saturday 5 November onwards, Kevan's surgery in Stanley will be held at The Venue (former Stanley Day Centre) on Wear Road.
His surgeries will therefore be as follows:
9:00am - 10:30am St. Mary’s & St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street
11:00am - 11:45am Great Lumley Methodist Church, Front Street, Great Lumley
12:00noon- 12:30pm The Library on Plawsworth Road, Sacriston
1:00pm - 2:30pm The Venue, Wear Road, Stanley
All constituents are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.
On 4 November, Kevan visited the Waddington Street Centre to join the celebrations of their 35th anniversary.
The Centre provides invaluable support to people in County Durham with suffering mental ill-health. You can find out more about the centre at http://www.waddingtoncentre.co.uk
On 1 November, Kevan led a Westminster Hall debate on coeliac disease and prescriptions. A number of CCGs across the country have put forward proposals that would see the withdrawal of gluten-free foodstuffs from prescription.
During the well-attended debate, Kevan spoke about how some 40% of CCGs in England are now choosing to restrict or remove support for patients with coeliac disease, which is leading to increasing health inequalities and what he described as a postcode lottery for NHS care, depending on where someone is diagnosed.
During his speech, Kevan shared his concern that cutting prescriptions for gluten-free products is a simple and easy target for CCGs under financial pressure. The entire prescription cost to the NHS in 2014 was £26.8 million or 0.27% of the total prescription budget—£194 per patient.
In his speech Kevan said:
"What some CCGs are doing is a false economy, because one hospital admission will cost more than the annual cost of prescriptions for an individual who adheres to a gluten-free diet.
"The CCGs that have already removed access to prescriptions for gluten-free products have not outlined or implemented policies that offer alternatives to safeguard patients, such as access to specialist dietary or nutritional advice. When a coeliac patient is taken out of a CCG’s responsibility because their gluten-free food prescription has been withdrawn, that CCG can no longer monitor them or determine the changed policy’s impact on that patient’s health. This is an important factor, and I am concerned that it has not been taken into account by a number of CCGs."
At the end of his speech, Kevan called for urgent intervention on the issue, and said that a pharmacy-led system, similar to what is in place in Scotland, could be delivered better and more effectively.
You can read or watch the debate in full by clicking on the links below:
On 31 October, Kevan attended a service to mark the 150th anniversary of the Pelton Fell Pit Disaster, in which 24 people were killed.
On October 28, Kevan joined the celebrations at Muddy Boots in Stanley to mark Mental Health North East's 10th Anniversary.
On 27 October, Kevan spoke in a debate on young people's mental health which was being debated in Parliament following the publication of the 2015 Youth Select Committee's Mental Health Inquiry report.
The Youth Select Committee is a British Youth Council (BYC) initiative and is supported by the House of Commons. It mirrors the UK Parliament Select Committee structure and gives young people the chance to scrutinise issues and hold inquiries on public matters they find important.
Kevan paid tribute to the work of the Youth Select Committee during the debate, praising its member for giving MPs another opprtunity to raise mental health issues in the Commons.
During the debate Kevan said:
"The unique thing about the report is that it gives those of us more advanced in years an insight into pressures on young people today that were not there when we were younger and into the challenges for parents and schools in dealing with them. The core of the report is very important, because it deals with a lot of issues that also affect adult mental health services."
Later in his speech, Kevan highlighted how cuts to youth services were having an impact on mental health, he said:
"It is no good just looking at mental health in terms of the Department of Health, because the cuts that have taken place in local government are having a direct impact on the provision of mental health services—I am talking about the closure of youth services and voluntary sector organisations that provide mental health services locally. This is a false economy. If we are putting more money into health and taking it out from elsewhere in the system, we will create an ongoing problem."
To read Kevan's speech in full, along with the rest of the debate, click on the link below:
On 20 October, Kevan introduced a bill to make cosmetic surgery safer.
Kevan's 10 minute rule bill, a type of private members' bill, would ensure people carrying out cosmetic surgery are properly trained, establish a code to ensure patients are properly informed about any risks, and set out what sort of treatment can be offered.
During his speech Kevan said, “aggressive” marketing techniques should be banned - and said the way some cosmetic surgery firms behaved was “more appropriate for selling double glazing”.
He told the House of Commons: “We have here a classic example of the market not only failing but being used to exploit people, which is ruining their lives and costing the NHS millions of pounds a year.”
Kevan became aware of the scandal around the £3.5 billion-a-year cosmetic surgery industry through a constituent who had surgery which left her unable to close her eyes. To this day she needs to apply special eye-drops every two hours to stop them drying out.
The NHS was now having “to pick up the bill” for her care, Kevan told MPs.
The law currently allows any qualified doctor - rather than a surgeon - to perform cosmetic surgery without undertaking additional training or qualifications.
Kevan's Bill aims to close this loophole. It has the support of the Royal College of Surgeons and will receive a second reading on March 24 2017.
To read Kevan's speech in full, follow the link below:
Radio 4's You and Yours also covered the story: